The Benefits of Recycled Plastic Benches vs Wood, Metal & Iron

Benefits of Recycled plastic


Benefits of Recycled plastic

Outdoor benches are a staple in parks, gardens, malls, and other public spaces and venues. You could even say that we take them for granted.

When it comes to choosing the right material for outdoor benches, there are a few to choose from. We’re all familiar with wood and metal benches, but recycled plastic benches are an excellent alternative.

In this blog post, we’ll compare the benefits of recycled plastic benches to their counterparts and discuss why recycled plastic is a superb choice.

Recycled Plastic vs Wood Outdoor Benches

Wood is a classic bench-building material. While it may not last as long as some other materials, it looks great outdoors. While wooden benches are quintessential, the wood itself is prone to wear and rot and requires periodic sanding and protection with oil or chemicals to improve its life span.

Conversely, recycled plastic has a convincing wood-like texture and is an environmentally-friendly choice. It also lasts considerably longer and is more sustainable than wood through its long-term usefulness.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences:

Durability and Maintenance

The best-recycled plastic benches are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is resistant to cracking and splintering.  Because it’s non-porous, inorganic and won’t absorb water, it cannot rot. It’s incredibly long-lasting as moisture can’t penetrate it so it also doesn’t spall or split during freeze/thaw cycles.

This makes recycled plastic benches significantly more durable than wooden benches, which are susceptible to weather-related damage and require regular maintenance, such as painting, staining, or sealing. There is also significant labor involved in prepping wood for maintenance, and many of the chemicals and treatments used aren’t environmentally friendly.

On the other hand, recycled plastic benches need little to no maintenance, which keeps costs and labor hours down in the long run. Occasional washing to remove grime and atmospheric dirt is all that they need.

Environmental Impact

Recycled plastic benches are a more sustainable choice compared to wood benches.

They’re made from plastic waste that is recycled, thus diverting plastic away from landfills. And because they last for decades, even generations, they won’t need replacement so they don’t use any additional energy or resources once they’re in place.  Plus, wooden benches require timber, which involves tree-felling and deforestation. While there are reclaimed wooden benches that mitigate this, they still don’t last as long as recycled plastic. And every time wooden boards need to be replaced, the process involves transportation and energy, increasing the wood benches’ carbon footprint.

Aesthetic Appeal and Customization

Recycled plastic benches come in a vast range of colors and styles.

At Polly Products, we make them available as flat benches, Buddy Benches, or traditional-backed benches.

Moreover, recycled plastic can closely mimic the earthy appearance of wood, so they fit right into natural outdoor spaces. Recycled plastic benches can be made with practically any color, from natural greens and browns to brighter colors. At Polly Products, we’ve chosen earth-toned colors that blend well into our natural environment which also helps resist fading as some bright colors can do.


While recycled plastic benches may have a higher upfront cost, their low maintenance/labor requirements and long-lasting durability make them a more cost-effective option in the long run.  A wooden bench will need to be stripped/sanded/painted or stained and replaced numerous times in the same lifespan of one bench made from recycled plastic.  Even metal will need maintenance and labor as rust appears or the finish flakes off.

Recycled plastic benches end up costing less than solid wood or wood and wrought iron benches. And they will be handed down from generation to generation.

Considering they are warranted for heavy commercial use for at least 20 years, there’s virtually no contest regarding cost!

Recycled Plastic vs Metal Outdoor Benches

Metal benches are durable, hardwearing, and look great.

This is also true for recycled plastic benches so they are an excellent alternative for any outdoor space with their standout durability and immunity to rust & deterioration.

Durability and Maintenance

Recycled plastic benches outperform metal benches in terms of durability and resistance to corrosion.

Metal benches, particularly those made from steel or iron, are susceptible to rust and corrosion, which can weaken them over time. In addition, paint & plastic coatings often peel, exposing the metal to the elements. We’ve all seen a broken-down metal bench that looks worse for wear. But they can be restored by stripping using either chemical stripper or hand sanding or sand-blasting, then reapplying a coating.  It’s plenty of labor-intensive work and the process can release lead paint or other chemicals into the environment.  And expanded metal or strap metal benches are susceptible to denting.

On the other hand, recycled plastic benches are immune to rust and corrosion, so they last longer and require less maintenance. Recycled plastic benches look great all year round and can be left outside and used year-round as well, as they don’t decay, absorb moisture, or rust like other materials.


Metal benches can become uncomfortably hot or cold. Sitting on a cold bench can give people a nasty shock! During warmer weather, you may get a painful surprise when you sit on a hot metal bench with bare skin.

Recycled plastic benches are poor temperature conductors so they don’t suffer from this issue.  You’re good to sit on them even in the hottest or coldest weather extremes.

Aesthetic Appeal and Customization

Recycled plastic benches offer a wide range of design options and colors, so they’re often considerably more customizable than metal benches. Recycled plastic benches are often engraved which isn’t usually an option on a metal bench unless it has a panel that can be laser cut with special equipment.  Either can have plaques applied.

Both metal and recycled plastic benches come in a variety of styles, from flat benches to buddy benches and traditional-backed benches of various styles.


Metal benches can be expensive. Conversely, recycled plastic benches are a more economical choice with low maintenance requirements and a long lifespan.

Recycled Plastic vs Wrought Iron Outdoor Benches

Wrought iron benches have a classic, traditional appearance. However, they’re among the most expensive benches and they do require some upkeep to maintain the luxurious look.

In contrast, recycled plastic benches boast an impressive blend of durability, weather resistance, and extremely low maintenance requirements. While comfortable and versatile, they can also be molded to mimic classic wrought iron bench styles, so you get the best of both worlds.

Durability and Maintenance

Like other metal benches, wrought iron benches are prone to rust and corrosion. When the weatherproof coating starts to flake or peel, the wrought iron underneath is highly vulnerable to corrosion.

Iron corrodes quickly, and rust affects the structural integrity of the bench, meaning it may weaken over time or even buckle or break under the weight, deeming it hazardous and a liability.

On the other hand, recycled plastic benches require little to no maintenance and are resistant to weather-related damage.


Similarly to metal benches, wrought iron benches could become cold or too hot if the seating area is made from iron.

Recycled plastics have excellent thermal performance and won’t give you a chilly back or burned backside.

Aesthetic Appeal and Customization

Wrought iron benches are often associated with a classic and elegant appearance, but their design options can be limited.

Recycled plastic benches come in various styles and colors, providing flexibility if you’re looking for a specific color or style.


Recycled plastic benches are long-lasting in all climates, including salt water.  They can be placed in areas that wrought iron benches fear with no worries about corrosion.  Their components are molded and can be amended with regular woodworking tools. Wrought iron is very labor-intensive to make. It requires heating iron ore and hammering and working it with specialized tools and is consequently quite expensive.  Therefore, they outshine most other bench types regarding cost-effectiveness.

Recycled Plastic vs Cast Iron Outdoor Benches

With their outstanding durability and corrosion resistance, recycled plastic benches are an excellent alternative to cast iron benches for reasons similar to those for wrought iron.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences.

Durability and Maintenance

Recycled plastic benches, made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), are resistant to cracking and weather-related damage. They are waterproof and will not rot or rust.

This makes them substantially more durable than cast iron benches, which can corrode and require regular maintenance like painting or treating to restore or prevent rust. Recycled plastic benches only need to be cleaned occasionally, so maintenance is minimal.

Environmental Impact

Recycled plastic benches are a more sustainable choice compared to cast iron benches. They are made from recycled plastic waste, diverting plastic from landfills and reducing our dependence on natural resources.

Cast iron benches, however, require energy-intensive production processes and contribute to iron ore mining.  Iron production processes not only strip the land, but also consider the vast emissions from the mining machinery and heavy transportation requirements.  The carbon footprint includes the mining and transportation to get the iron to a facility to be cast.  Recycled iron helps reduce that footprint so it is definitely preferable, but still may not be as environmentally friendly; when it rusts, paint and chemicals will be released into the environment.  How many times will that be performed in the lifespan of the bench?

Aesthetic Appeal and Customization

Recycled plastic benches come in various colors and styles, offering an expansive range of customization options.

They can even mimic the appearance of cast iron without the associated drawbacks.

Cast iron benches may provide a classic and elegant look, but their design options can be limited, and their aesthetic appeal can be diminished over time due to rust and weathering.


While recycled plastic benches may have a higher upfront cost compared to imported cast iron benches, their low maintenance requirements and long-lasting durability make them a more cost-effective option in the long term.

Advantages of Recycled Plastic Benches

Recycled plastic benches are growing in popularity as an excellent choice for their long-lasting and environmentally-friendly characteristics. They also look great and don’t degrade as quickly over time.  They save money and the environment on both maintenance and replacement costs.

Environmentally Friendly

Recycled plastic benches are made of 100% recycled HDPE, using plastic waste destined for landfills and waterways, which makes them an environmentally-friendly choice. The US is one of the leading contributors to plastic waste, producing around 42 million metric tons annually.

Some 70% of plastic in the US is burned or buried in landfill. We can change that.

Recycled plastic benches make excellent use of HDPE #2 plastics, including:

  • Yogurt and margarine tubs
  • Juice jugs
  • Milk jugs
  • Shampoo and cosmetic bottles
  • 5 gal food-grade buckets
  • Detergent bottles
  • Water jugs
  • Bottles from household cleaners

Polly Products uses only recycled plastic in our products with minimal additives, including UV stabilizers to protect from the sun (fading), color, and molding enhancers. They contain zero formaldehyde and are fully recyclable.

By choosing these recycled plastic benches, you help divert plastic waste from landfills and reduce the demand for virgin materials, reducing environmental impact.

Impervious to Moisture, Rot, Mold, and Insects

One of the standout features of recycled plastic benches is their resistance to moisture, rot, mold, and insects.

Unlike traditional wooden benches that are susceptible to decay, warping, and insect infestations, recycled plastic benches are super-durable.

This makes them perfect for outdoor environments, even in the harshest conditions.


Recycled plastic benches require virtually no maintenance, saving precious time and money.

There is no need for painting, staining, sealing, or seasonal storage, as the material doesn’t fade or deteriorate.

UV Protected and Solid Color Molded Through

High-quality recycled plastic benches come with UV protection, ensuring the color remains vibrant and consistent despite prolonged exposure to sunlight.

The solid color is molded throughout the material, reducing the need for touch-ups and eliminating the risk of peeling or chipping paint.

This feature also means that any scratches or dents will be less noticeable, as the color remains the same throughout the bench.

They Look Great

Recycled plastic benches can be designed to look similar to traditional benches made from wood, metal, or wrought iron.

There are so many colors and styles on offer, so you’ll easily find the perfect bench to complement any outdoor space.


To underline the longevity of recycled park benches, Polly Products offer a 20-year commercial warranty on our recycled plastic benches, so we don’t care where you use them.  

Our incredibly durable recycled plastic benches are sure to stand the test of time, even in harsh conditions.


Recycled plastic benches offer a multitude of benefits, making them an excellent choice for outdoor seating. With a stunning range of colors and styles on offer, finding the perfect recycled plastic bench for your park or garden is straightforward.

Polly Products offer top-quality recycled plastic benches with 20-year commercial warranties.

By choosing recycled plastic benches, you’re investing in a top-quality bench and reducing demand for finite resources and unsustainable materials.

#sustainablebenches #eco-friendlybench #recycledplasticbench

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